I’ll start by saying: faith without doubt isn’t really overrated it is non-existent but that doesn’t fit with the theme, so thus it becomes overrated. By definition alone, if you had 100% certainty about something, would it really be faith? No, it would be a fact… invariably every bit of our faith is coupled in some degree with doubt. Part of the problem is that we associate doubt with weakness and indecision. Doubt shouldn’t be associated with those words; it is most closely related to skepticism. And my guess is that the vast majority of people don’t understand the proper definition of that word either. Go ahead, look it up!
When most people associate doubt with a person, most immediately look to the Biblical character and disciple, Thomas (Didymus) aka “Doubting Thomas”. I heard a talk recently about this and it really made me scratch my head. Was Thomas miscast? Is his legacy as a doubter uncalled for? Think of these two pieces of information:
- Jesus appeared to the disciples shortly after his resurrection and the disciples were barricaded inside an area… probably scared to death… literally afraid that any public appearance could result in similar fate to what Jesus had encountered. They were hunkered down… that is, all of them except for Thomas. Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared to the disciples. Where was he? Who knows… but he wasn’t with them, perhaps showing some courage to be “out and about”. Anyway, all the disciples got to see Jesus in person and see the wounds and believe first hand but for some reason we think of Thomas lacking faith because he had to see for himself… but no more so than the other disciples did. Wouldn’t you want to see in person, if you could?
- Not much is told in the Biblical accounts of Thomas however there is one previous account where Thomas, in true Braveheart fashion, says about returning to an area that they had barely fled with their lives <if Jesus is to die> “Let’s go with him and go to our death”
These two things lead me to believe we have misinterpreted Thomas’s doubt… and probably doubt in general. Doubt isn’t wrong… it is inherent with faith and co-exists with the things that we believe. Each time that we sense doubt, it becomes an opportunity to grow and learn. Don’t get me wrong, doubt can overcome some. In business doubt can cause analysis paralysis. It can cause indecision and generate fear. In personal lives, doubt can cause worry and fear that results in lives that don’t become what they could. Are you afraid of doubt? If you push it away and don’t deal with it, you won’t be able to grow and, ironically, grow stronger in faith.